One day, she wanted to make fajitas with all the proper accoutrements for dinner - peppers, onions, guacamole, sour cream and beans. The day would be busy, she feared, and dinner would be rushed and uninspired. She threw her head wearily onto the counter in defeat.
Crash. Bang. Thump.
The girl looked down and saw a pair of blue eyes and a mischievous grin. Her toddler was playing in a cabinet where she stored cutting boards, ice cube trays and slow cookers. The trays had clattered to the floor and a tiny arm made his way to a shiny glass object.
"No! Not my slow cooker!" she gasped, swooping in to take the lid from the boy. Just as it almost struck the floor, she was struck with an idea. Her dinner woes could be solved by the slow cooker and his little friend, too.
In the big slow cooker, she layered a sliced bell pepper, red onion and 8 ounces of mushrooms. Chicken breast went on top followed by a seasoning mix of cumin, chili powder and salt. While the recipe suggested fresh lime juice, the girl found she was out. With new found motivation, she was undeterred and added a sprinkling of True Lime before splashing in some chicken broth. The shiny silver pot was turned on low for eight hours. With a bing, dinner was as good to go as she could do.
With visions of re"fried" black beans dancing in her head, she added dry beans, water, bay leaves, cumin and chipotle chili powder to the white slow cooker. It might have been the less impressive, small and non-digital, but the crock was going to hold the night's most prized dish.
She skipped off to work, proud of what she had accomplished. Little did she know that the clouds had rolled in, darkened and the universe was ready to rain on her parade.
Tiny little trolls invaded her kitchen and turned the dinner upside down. The vegetables she so hoped would be cooked but definable became a mush at the bottom of the crock. The seasoning mix became an unpleasant crust on the chicken. Tiny little bones started to appear in the meat. The beans were turned to low instead of high - an egregious error as they had been unsoaked.
When the girl returned, her red hair bouncing with excitement as she walked through the door, walked hurriedly to the kitchen. Fajitas and salads were ready to be made and the bellies of her men were grumbling with hunger.
She took lid off crock No. 1 and gasped. The fajitas were an ugly mess and almost looked inedible. She was not deterred, shredding the meat and mixing it with the vegetables for burritos instead. It's all the same with re"fried" black beans.
Her loss of breath was audible as the girl opened the second crock. The beans were a sunken mass swimming at the bottom of a murky pool of water. She poked them with a fork, hopeful but discovered the trolls had dashed her visions. The beans couldn't be stabbed with a fork much lass mashed for re"fried" beans.
Her dinner was not to be, she resolved, and threw up her hands.
And then those hands turned the small crock to high. Beans might not be for dinner but with another four hours on high, they can make for a delicious lunch the next day and breakfast the day after that.
How's that for a fairy tale ending?